2.06.2013

Google Doodle Celebrates Mary Leakey's 100th Birthday


Mary Leakey was a British archaeologist and anthropologist, who discovered the first fossilized Proconsul skull, an extinct ape now believed to be ancestral to humans, and also discovered the robust Zinjanthropus skull at Olduvai Gorge. She was born  February 6, 1913 in London, England.

Mary. Leakey, is well known for her significant discoveries and exploring the fossils of the ancient hominines. She collaborated with her husband Louis Leakey through a large part of her career and her three sons also entered the same field. She died on December 9, 1996 in Nairobi, Kenya at the age of 83.

Leakey's discoveries included the fossilised Proconsul skull, an extinct ape that is believed to be ancestor to humans. Another discovery was that of the Zinjanthropus skull, an early hominin, at Olduvai Gorge. She is also credited with developing a system to classify stone tools found at Olduvai as well as discovering Laetoli footprints. Over the course of her career, Leakey wrote four books.

Her passion towards unearthing the fossils was to some extent influenced by John Frere, an antiquarian, and Sheppard Frere, an archaeologist. Moreover, she had a chance to accompany Elie Peyrony during an excavation at Les Eyzies, where she came across collection scrapers and other tools from the dump. It is believed that at this phase her interest in prehistory gradually sparked.

Google's doodle celebrates her birthday with an image of a female archaeologist working at an excavation site marked with footprints, surrounded by archaeological tools like brush, leaf-and-square and trowel, while two dogs play around the site. The doodle features Mary Leakey on an archaeological site, who looks busy with her excavation work.
The doodle features two Dalmatians as Mary was an animal lover who was almost always accompanied in the field by three or four dalmatians. It also exhibits one of her major discoveries "the Laetoli footprints", and some tools used in archaeology.

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